Christmas Around The World – Democratic Republic Of The Congo
Previous we looked at how the Czech Republic celebrated Christmas.
Today we find ourselves in central Africa to see how Christmas is celebrated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Formerly known as Zaire it is the second largest country by area in Africa behind Algeria (by a mere 14240 sq miles). It borders nine other countries including Angola, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
It has the oldest national park in Africa – the Congo’s Virunga National Park. Home to rare mountain gorillas, lions and elephants.
It is one of the most resource rich countries on the planet, with gold, tantalum, tungsten and tin all available in abundance.
24th & 25th December
The majority religion is Christianity, and Christmas is most definitely a religious festival rather than a commercial one.
Most people won’t exchange presents.
Churches have big musical evenings with 5-6 choirs and a nativity play that begins with creation and ends with the story of King Herod killing all the baby boys after the birth of Jesus.
The play lasts a long time and the birth of Jesus happens as close to midnight as possible, meaning the whole thing ends around 1am on Christmas Day (although some places will continue to sing hymns until the sun rises).
The actors in the play usually go very over the top and King Herod is portrayed as a relatively comical character like a typical ‘pantomime villain’.
The Christmas Day service starts at 9am and consists of a lot of singing where people will wear the best clothes they can afford.
After the main meal, the rest of the day is spent quietly, doing things like sleeping. People will return to work on the 26th December.
Families try to have the best meal they can afford on Christmas Day, which usually sees them eating chicken or pork subject to them being able to afford it.
Our next destination is Denmark where we look at how the Danes celebrate Christmas.